Schooled in Europe

PUBLISHED : Monday, 23 September, 1996, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 23 September, 1996, 12:00am

It was July 17, 1996. I had been looking forward to this day. My school's English Club had organised a study tour to Europe.

We would attend class in Watford, England, for 10 days and then the next 11 days would be spent travelling through Holland, Belgium, France and Austria.

The aims of the tour were to give students a better chance to listen and speak English as well as to expose them to the Western culture.

There were 19 of us - four teachers and the rest were students from Tai Po Sam Yuk Secondary School's Form Two to Seven. I was one of the lucky ones.

Of all the countries that we visited, I liked England best. During the summer course, I made friends with people from other countries. They were very nice.

Being able to communicate with native speakers also helped to increase my confidence to speak English. I also liked the teaching methods because the teachers used games to make learning English fun. The teachers in Hong Kong are always exam-oriented.

After our English summer course, we went on tour. Our teachers were our guides. I did not like Amsterdam very much because I felt the people there were too liberal with sex and there were many drug addicts around. I did enjoy our visit to Zaanse Schans where we saw the windmills and people making cheese and clogs. I got my hair braided with beautifully-coloured thread just for fun.

Our next stop was Bruges in Belgium. It was a picturesque ancient town. Paris was an exciting city with lots of things to see - the Eiffel Tower, Arc de Triomphe, Notre Dame, Montmartre and, of course, nearby Euro Disney! During those three weeks, I discovered how important it was to help each other. We always had to rush in order to see as many things as possible. If all of us were selfish and only thought of ourselves, then a lot of problems would have arisen. I was glad there was a spirit of unity which held us together in times of difficulty.

I am sure all of us became more independent after the tour because we had to do many things ourselves. We did some cooking along the way to save money as well as to satisfy our Oriental taste buds.

Wing-yi is a Form Four pupil at Tai Po Sam Yuk Secondary School.